Sunday, August 30

Ay Dios Mio

Twin came for a visit and there was no shortage of activities this weekend (as long as you were willing to traipse through the woods, in one case). Really, it couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend. Not only was it great because I miss her, but she really helped me see clearly in a few instances. One such instance involving the less fair sex. Allow me to explain:

I’ve been hanging out with this guy, My Shadow*, but he’s become capital-C Clingy (something I like about as much as oral surgery). He’s always popping up, holding my hand, putting his arm around me, smiling at me, wanting to hang out. I may sound crazy for not liking those things, but honestly, if I wanted something glued to my hip and cooing at me, I would have a baby. I’m on birth control so obviously I don’t. BUT, he’s just nice enough for me to put up with. I started convincing myself that I could be content with him. Content? Fuck content. If I’m so afraid of commitment and the such, why the hell would I be willing to be content? Therapist says: because in that situation, I am the least involved and therefore feel in control. And Therapist is always right. PLUS, there’s no chemistry. This is what Twin helped me realize.

If you want to talk about chemistry, let’s talk about the Minimalist. I spent pretty much the whole weekend partying with him, both with and without My Shadow and the difference in the Minimalist’s behavior is evident. That could also be because he was just so impressed with my flask (which is bigger than his). A moment of truth instance happened the second night-his friend, for whatever reason, began chanting “kiss her”. I, of course, was all game, but couldn’t make that obvious. And you know what happened? Huh? Huh? Come on, guess. Oh yes, he kissed me. And not a little peck. An actual kiss. With tongue! I sound like a silly middle-schooler now, I realize, but it was just one of those moments, so forgive me. Long story short (because I should really be doing homework), people went back to his place, him and I hung out in his room, he gave me my own glass of whiskey (which everyone refers to as his girlfriend, so that was big), and I woke up in his bed at 7:30 this morning. Not in a slutty way, though, so don’t start thinking I’m a whore and trying to help me find Jesus. Both of us were fully clothed (minus my cardigan, but that doesn’t count) and were never anything other than that. I must say, though, I think I won some major ground.

And if it wasn’t for Roomie-Dearest planting the seed in Cesar’s head, who then planted the seed in the Minimalist’s head, and Twin for reminding me to stop settling all the God-damned time, I probably would have spent both nights being cooed at and touched by My Shadow. And honestly, nights are no time to have a shadow.

*My Shadow-a sophomore I met while smoking in the gazebo. He’s a rugby player, a Boy Scout and pretty interesting.

Thursday, August 27

Puppy Love

I miss my dogs, Rocky and Luke.

I remember the day we got Rocky. I was about to start kindergarten and mother and father took Brother and I to a breeder. I wanted a girl dog and I wanted to name her Penny. We walked up to a kennel full of the cutest puppies I had ever seen, with their big puppy feet and their loose puppy skin. Immediately, I found a girl puppy that I loved. She was soft and cuddly and fell asleep in my arms. I started my campaign for THAT dog. Meanwhile, father saw another puppy, a feisty boy who was biting his siblings. Father went into the kennel with the dog and he bit his shoelace. I guess that sold Father, because no matter what I said, he wouldn’t budge. We took him home and gave him a bath in a pot in the backyard. Whenever I got sick (which was a lot back in the day), he could sleep with me on the couch and he ate whatever was dropped on the floor. I eventually learned to love little Rocky (who shares my birthday).

Over the last few years, though, we started thinking about another dog. We only dreamed about it because Rocky was quite the little alpha male and we assumed he wouldn’t tolerate another dog sleeping on his couch and chasing his squirrels. One thing we did agree on, though, was that if we got another dog it would NOT be another male Jack Russell terrier.

Then one day, mother came home from running errands. She opened the back of her car and out jumped…another male Jack Russell terrier. Mother informed me that he was 3 years old and used to race, but was then retired and sent to a Jack Russell rescue, where her friend got him before passing him on to us. It was only a trial, she assured me. If it didn’t work out we could return him. I was skeptical.

At first, Rocky was less than thrilled, alternating between barking and snapping at him and pouting. Brother was ecstatic. Mother and I were wary. After a few days, though, Rocky stopped barking and pouting, and also seemed to play with the dog (who’s original name was T-Bone, then Shark, then Luke).

Luke only got lost once or twice. The neighbors only called angry once. He learned not to dig in the trash because that was Rocky’s trash. And Luke and Rocky even began sharing toys. Though Rocky still won’t be on the couch if Luke is.

I miss them dearly. I miss having someone welcome me home so enthusiastically. I miss having someone to sleep with on the couch. I even kind of miss constant barking; Rocky’s high and fast, Luke’s deep and slow. I miss them so much that I have a picture of them on my desk (and Brother does, too). My biggest fear is that Rocky (who is now 13 years old) will die while I’m away. Though, knowing that tough old guy, he’ll outlive me.

Monday, August 24

The Joys of Upperclassmen

Things I have learned in college:

P Safe (public safety) will never bust bonfires in the woods because they would have to leave their golf carts by the lake and people have and will push them in.

They lied when they said this wasn’t a smoker friendly campus.

The best place to hide a stash (if you happen to have one) is on top of the light fixtures.

There’s one waitress on night shift at the diner. She works every night. Her name is Phil.

Athletes (with the exception of rugby players) and everyone else don’t get along.

This is not confirmed, but at some point in their career Rugby players are encouraged, not forced, to get branded.

1972 is more than just a year.

Don’t buy cigarettes from Harris Teeter.

Carry your beer in a backpack.

Happy sex is highly encouraged.

Needless to say, I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. Especially since Roomie-Dearest went to high school with an upperclassman, Cesar, and he’s since introduced us to a bunch of other upperclassmen, including GoodMan** and The Minimalist*. We went over to their apartment last night with the intention of just baking cookies, which we did, but then we stayed and bonded with the lovely boys until 3am. At one point, Cesar was sleeping in his closet. He deemed it comfortable.

Things ended with Sweet-n-Slow, which I’m happy about. We’re friends, but I decided to get the hell out of dodge when he came into my room, kicked Roomie-Dearest out and then proceeded to confess that he cuddled with another girl the other night because he thought I was ignoring him, but don’t worry! He was thinking about me the whole time. Nice of him to confess like that, but monogamy is the last thing on my college to-do list (yes, I have one and its growing by the day). Hell, it’s the last thing on any of my to-do lists. Especially after I’ve been in college for all of 5 days.

Oh, and then there’s classes. They started today (at 8fucking30 in the morning). Nothing too terribly eventful on that front, but it is nice to have somewhere I have to be. It keeps me focused.

Now I’m off to lunch in the caf (saying that made me cringe a bit) and to find out where I pick up my packages.

*The Minimalist-one of Cesar’s room mates. He’s from Vermont and was a sous chef for 3 years. We’re going to play Iron Chef one night. He reminds me, in a good way, of an ex-boyfriend. I’ve got a wee bit of a crush on him, but not a little girl crush. More, I would just like to get to know him.

**GoodMan-the boy Roomie-Dearest has a crush on. He rarely wears a shirt while partying, has a lip ring and a tattoo, and is a genuinely nice guy.

Friday, August 21

Welcome Camp College

“Hi, my name is Kara and I’m a freshman.”

It’s official. No more counting-down. No more waiting. No more packing, unpacking, or thinking about boxes. (FYI-Every single thing I packed fit perfectly, with a little room to spare). My room is set up, my pictures are hung and Roomy-Dearest is wonderful. I’m a freshman (or, a first year, as my very liberal college calls us). Though I sure as hell don’t feel like one yet (unless you count the semi-awkward search for friends). They’ve scheduled more ice-breaking, mind-opening, rule-setting welcome events than I care to mention. I almost feel like I’m in summer camp. Camp College. Except instead of making friendship bracelets and gluing noodles and beads to paper plates, we’re learning the difference between drunken sex and date rape and wearing trash bags (yes, really).

Classes start Monday, bright and early, and will keep me occupied (and help me make friends in a less awkward way). I actually am excited for classes, and not just for the aforementioned reasons. All of the professors here (who you call by their first names) seem like genuinely interesting people and all the classes I’m taking, with the exception of one, seem genuinely interesting. All of the people I’ve met here, while most are quiet, seem like people I could get along with (though no real best friend candidates yet, so Twin and Coco can rest easy). I also don’t mind not smoking as much as I used to (as there are only a few designated smoking areas on campus and I’ve only found one).

The only less than favorable thing I’ve encountered here is Sweet-n-Slow*, a football player who helped me carry my boxes up and then stopped by later to make sure I was settling in well. He introduced me to a few of his friends, showed me a good diner, and got me in good with my RA. He likes me (and my body, which he’s made perfectly clear). There are only two things missing from this match made in heaven-his intelligence and our chemistry. I see him and I think big, goofy friend. He sees me and thinks…something, I’m sure. Please excuse my stereotyping, but it’s not really stereotyping in this case.

If I could just ignore those two little things, and his annoying sexuality, it could be something good. He would get a nice girl friend that laughs at his jokes and looks good on his arm. I would get a boyfriend who adores me, which after the last year of my love life, would be good; great; helpful. Not exactly the picture of health, but a band-aid. And while band-aids don’t solve anything, it does help in the healing process.

*Sweet-n-Slow-A nice enough guy who is not nearly smart or interesting enough (or even my type at all), but seems to mean well.

Up, Up and Away

Please pardon my outburst the other day. It appears my lack of daily emotion manifests itself in random, uncontrollable, nervous outbursts.

It has been a trying few days. My to-do list didn’t include “reflect,” so only last night did it hit me. Well, I guess it hit me the other day, but this time it hit me in a less frantic, traumatizing way.

I’ve complained about my town for as long as I can remember. I’ve been dying to get out of town and mother’s house since 4th grade (I even had a plan to run away that included climbing out my window and down a knotted sheet). That plan has been abandoned, but not the need to run away and keep running until I was no longer within reach of the whirlpool that is my small Southern town.

And here I am, after years of dreaming of this day and thinking it would never come, 7 hours and over 400 miles away from said small Southern town, less than 12 hours away from being an ID carrying freshman, and I’m not jumping for joy. I’m neutral.

Emotional neutrality when facing big events is not unusual for me. There’s usually a little initial emotion bubbling under the surface, maybe even a tear shed or a squeal uttered if it is a really big event, but nothing of consequence. I usually take this to mean that what’s happening is meant to happen. If I’m nervous, it must be because it is not good for me. If I’m excited, that must mean I didn’t expect it to happen, like I don’t believe I’m worthy. But if I’m neutral, that must be because it is right and I’m worthy.

Maybe that’s the case here. College was never a question for me. Staying in state was never an option I was willing to consider. Basing a decision as important as college on where a friend goes always sounded ridiculous. So it only makes sense that I would go to college far from home with no one I know. This is what I always knew would happen. This is how things are supposed to be.

I just wish for once I could be emotional. Not any kind of emotional (because I can’t really handle any more nervous outbursts), but the good kind. I wish I could have made a big deal about saying good-bye to people, to my dogs, my room, house and the town that I’ve always complained about (but secretly have a soft-spot for). I didn’t, though. I just left. I ran away and (though its been less than a day) haven’t looked back. With any luck, as I’m walking into my dorm for the first time tomorrow, I’ll get excited, uncontrollably excited, and maybe even a little nervous. And in a little while, once I get firmly (or even softly) rooted in my new life, I’ll miss my old life, my old town, my friends (who will hopefully never be old or forgotten).

Hopefully, I’ll be able to really show some emotion, as opposed to the survival mode I’ve been in for way too long. I’m optimistic.

P.S.-I went on another date with Ugly Duckling. Another great date. We laughed. We talked. At the end he kissed me like he cared about me (not just like he wanted to get my lumps/humps/goodies). Note to everyone: Don’t be shallow. Give people a chance. Even if they’re not quite swans yet.

**This was written Tuesday, August 18. I haven't had internet until now, so please forgive the dated post.**

Sunday, August 16

Fucking shit!

Up until this point I’ve been calm, cool, and collected. I barely batted an eye when I said good-bye to Coco, Twin and Brother, because I knew I would see them again soon. I thought nothing of starting to pack up my room because I had plenty of time.

Not anymore! I’m not calm, cool or collected. I’m flipping my shit. I don’t know what an anxiety attack feels like, but I may be having a mild one. Tomorrow is my last day in town! I hate this town, but it’s the only place I’ve ever really known. I saw Twin and Coco today, but I had to say good-bye to them again. We won’t meet again until November, when we go to a concert (that yes, we already bought the tickets for). I have to pack everything I could possibly need, and not one thing I don’t, because I won’t be coming home until Christmas! And I have a ton of other things to do tomorrow, some necessary, some I think are necessary, and I don’t know where I’m going to find the time to do it all.

I’m overwhelmed. I can’t handle this. I’m not a big girl. I’m a little girl that just wants to curl up in bed, suck her thumb, and sleep until everything is ok. But I can’t and I don’t know if I can handle this. I’m leaving. I’m going to college. I won’t have any of my friends or other support system there. I have to do this alone. I’ve never been alone. I’m not nearly as independent as I pretend to be.

I’m sure everyone feels this way at some point when going to college. Its normal, right? Either way, I’m still losing my grip on myself. My stomach has been eating itself for days. I’m not sleeping. I’m baking non-stop just to have something to do. Mother is trying to talk to me and doesn’t realize I’m a wreck.

Fucking shit! Shit! Shit!

An Exercise in Futility

Five days. In five days I will be a college student who studies and shares a bathroom and eats in a cafeteria and socializes. Coco, Twin and Brother are already living that life. So with not much to do besides pack and sleep, what do I do for fun?

I go on a date, of course. Five days before I leave the nest and the state not to return until Christmas, I go on a first date. Doesn’t that make complete sense? While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and pile on the fact that the guy, Ugly Duckling*, actually seems like a good guy, though some of my friends disagree, and I don’t do long-distance relationships. Now is it clear why I did it? If its clear to you, could you explain it to me? Please and thank-you.

Any trained psychiatrist would probably say I agreed to the date because, with so little time left to develop the relationship, I wouldn’t have to worry about actually getting to know the man (more so, I wouldn’t have to worry about Ugly Duckling actually getting to know me). That could be it. Or it could be that an old issue of Cosmo told me that I will reap great rewards for putting myself out there more. Or it could be because I recently got the advice (from a wise, old sage) that I should never turn down a free meal or a free drink. Or maybe, I’ve realized that my favorite type of exercise is an exercise in futility. Whatever the reason for this date, it was lovely, in no way awkward or intimidating, but still too little too late to make me reconsider my stringless approach to college. But no harm was done so I’m going to try not to analyze my actions too much.

*Ugly Duckling-someone I've known for quite a while who previously was a fat, belligerent drunk with long hair and no real future, who has now, in the span of about a year, lost a lot of weight, cut his hair, calmed down, lessened his drinking and started taking school seriously. I don't mean to be shallow about his appearance, but now he takes pride in it, whereas before he couldn't have cared less.

Sunday, August 9

The Art of Tying Knots

With ten days until this little birdie spreads her wings and flies out of the nest, I’m tying up loose ends. Maybe if I had been a Boy Scout I would be better at tying knots, but its proving to be a bit harder than I anticipated.

The most time consuming knot on my to-do list is packing. For the past six years I've had a room to myself with lots of storage space that I quickly filled with things I never bothered to throw away. So now my once large room is feeling smaller by the second as I fill it with giant bags of trash and boxes of stuff that I'm absolutely sure I can't live without (like a water purification system and a stainless steel water bottle, for the environment). I’ve got a box of this, a box of that and a room mate that I have to share a closet and a dresser with, who hopefully lives as simply as a monk.

While packing is important, as well as taking and framing pictures of my dogs for Brother, drinking then nursing a hangover, and making my own granola (my latest culinary project), it isn’t the most important thing. I should be figuring out how I’m going to say good-bye to my friends, mainly Coco and Twin, which hasn’t received a moment of thought (as opposed to my granola recipe, which I’ve decided will definitely include wheat germ).

I have problems with open displays of emotion and co-dependence, which tend to make heartfelt good-byes, like the ones looming on the horizon, difficult and uncomfortable. Despite the complete absence of hugs in our friendship we really are best friends, and I really will miss them. I’ll probably miss them more than they realize, because I am by far the least emotional of the bunch. I am also the one going the furthest away. And I’m pretty horrible at keeping in touch. Is there any thing else we can add to the list of reasons why this might be the end of our friendship? Nothing? I’m sure there’s more.

As strange as it is for me to say this (and show such co-

dependence), I don’t know what I’ll do without them or if I’ll ever have another friend as good as them. Sure, we’ve had our disagreements and there are things about them that annoy the hell out of me, but they’re my girls. They’ve cleaned up my puke, pulled me away from guys at parties, helped me pick out underwear, occasionally worked out with me, and put up with my inability to delegate in the kitchen. I love Coco and Twin (and I’m even getting a tad misty-eyed writing this).

Okay, that’s enough emotion for one day. I think I’ll go pack some more.